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New Intern Introduction: Ta Lynn Mitchell

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Hello! My name is Ta Lynn Mitchell and I am the newest intern at the Center for Education Reform (CER). As a junior at American University, I have lived here in DC for the past 3 years and I have visited Bethesda Row on many occasions, not aware that CER, a pioneering organization in the education reform movement and an organization that I would later have the opportunity to intern for, was right down the street.

My hopes for my time here at CER are to get a foundational understanding of what Education Policy is and how policies that are enacted on a federal level, impact school systems on the ground around the country.

One of my main assignments for the first week consisted of reading 30 education related articles and imputing them into the database. From this task alone, I have been able to learn a great amount about the current rhetoric around education policy and I have a background understanding about legislation that is in place around the country.

After graduating from American University, I look forward to going abroad in the Peace Corps and working with an educational youth advocacy group in a Latin American Country. Upon returning I will pursue my graduate degree in Education Policy Reform. My vision is to work in an urban school district, as a teacher and then a principal, so I can spend time on the ground and understand what the obstacles are that staff encounters daily and children are experiencing. I would like to move into a policy legislative advocacy position as well.

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Constitution Day 2013

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Today is Constitution Day, marking the 226th anniversary of the document that laid the groundwork for the great experiment that is the United States of America. Through a series of Articles and Amendments, the Framers of the Constitution provided the blueprint for federalism — that is the way in which the federal government interacts with states, and the governmental powers afforded to each entity.

When properly applied, federalism has allowed for governments at each level to function in a way that best serves the American people. The Parent Power Index (PPI) is a reflection of how this system has allowed states to implement their own meaningful reforms. With its measures of how well state policies bolster parental access to their children’s education, the PPI actually aids in the federalist process by facilitating the spread of successful programs to other states. However, federalism now faces significant challenges, particularly when it comes to education reform.

One glaring threat to the effectiveness of federalism is the unprecedented US Department of Justice lawsuit
against Louisiana’s opportunity scholarship program, which amounts to a harmful intrusion into a state program with a proven record of popularity and success. Members of Congress sent a letter today to the Obama administration demanding a detailed explanation for the lawsuit, which the administration will hopefully provide to show how this assault on educational freedom best serves Louisiana families.

Another challenge to federalism is the debate surrounding the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), at the heart of which is defining the proper role of Congress in education. Lawmakers need to realize that the federal government’s role should be that of assessment and data gathering, while setting up the right balance of carrot and stick when distributing funds to

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Welcome EduShyster!

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Jennifer! I am so pleased and surprised our gala has brought you out into the light. I was, however, surprised to see your reservation to this event and to know that we share this agenda and a desire to celebrate with others whose life’s work has been about advancing the needs of students first, foremost and always. I’m touched by your change in heart and the contribution you are making to the cause of school choice.

As you know, we will be celebrating two decades of work on creating excellent education options for children by empowering and supporting teachers in their drive to be excellent, empowering parents who previously had no options other than failing schools.

I will be spreading the good news with attendees that you have seen the light so that each of them can thank you personally that night. It should be a glorious evening.

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